Monday, September 10, 2012

There is more than we are seeing

Michael Del Zotto (Blueshirts United)
It is as much of a tradition as any in the NHL; New York Ranger President/General Manager Glen Sather having trouble reaching an agreement on a new contract with a young player. It is not something that started when Glen Sather took the Ranger job as even when Sather was the Edmonton boss, contract disputes with his younger players were more the norm.

This time it is Michael Del Zotto who the team is having trouble signing to a new contract. And in typical Sather fashion; Del Zotto is to blame because he "needs to come to his senses."

See my biggest issue here is that there is a lot more than meets the eye in the case of Del Zotto. None of us know what the Rangers are offering Del Zotto but anyone following the NHL/NHLPA collective bargaining talks would know that if the NHL gets their way in the new CBA then a player like Del Zotto would be hurt the most.

Under what the NHL is proposing, salary arbitration would be eliminated and a player would not be eligible for unrestricted free agency until a player has 10 years of NHL service. There is no mention about what would happen to restricted free agency but it has never been anything more than a sham.

Sather says Del Zotto is bargaining against himself and in many ways it is the truth. Del Zotto at 22 coming off his entry level contract has really no leverage at all in bargaining.

If the NHL gets their way then Del Zotto won't have any leverage for another 7 years. If you were in Michael Del Zotto's position then you would be very careful about any deal you sign.

Because Del Zotto signed his first contract at 19 then while the Rangers have to offer him a 1-way deal but that really is it. The Rangers don't have to worry about arbitration because Del Zotto is a year away from being eligible.

They also at this point in time don't have to worry another team offering Del Zotto an offer sheet given as close as they are to the expiration of the current CBA. But here is a question that I have asked and nobody seems to know the answer to.

If the current CBA expires on September 15th then what happens with those players who are free agents of one kind or another? Until the NHL comes to some sort of an agreement with the NHLPA then isn't Michael Del Zotto now an unrestricted free agent?

The NHL may lock out their players but there is nothing to say that teams can't sign a player to a contract. Del Zotto's agent is former NHL player Bobby Orr so he knows all about labor issues after his own experiences as a player.

If one wants to believe the rumors that the Rangers are actually offering Del Zotto a deal that calls for a $2.5 million salary then it is very hard to see Del Zotto rejecting it. Even if the NHL wins the right to roll back salaries or increase the amount deducted via escrow then Del Zotto is still doubling his salary.

There is a very good possibility that what ever deal Del Zotto signs could be his salary for the next 7 years. To the normal fan; that is still a great deal but since none of us are privy to the talks then perhaps we should not be so quick to judge Del Zotto.

Game Action

New York Islander 2012 4th round pick, Loic Leduc didn't score but was a +2 on 1 shot with 2 minor penalties as his Cape Breton Screaming Eagles handed the Halifax Mooseheads a 5-3 loss on home ice. It was a pretty good road win for the Screaming Eagles as they were facing Nathan MacKinnon and "held" him to just 1 assist.

If you don't know who MacKinnon is then don't worry you will be hearing a ton about him during the year. MacKinnon is expected to be one of the first players taken in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft.

There was no word if Adam Pelech (NYI 2012 3rd) was in the lineup for the Erie Otters on Sunday as the Otters were whipped 9-4. Maybe it would have been better if he didn't play as this was a bad loss for the rebuilding Otters.


Kelly Friesen of Yahoo's Buzzing the Net is predicting that Michael St. Croix (NYR 2011 4th), Griffin Reinhart (NYI 2012 1st) and their Edmonton Oil Kings will repeat as WHL Champions this season.

Hard to argue with Friesen but I think the WHL is a very tough league to win back to back titles in. I will stick with my Portland Winterhawk prediction if you don't mind.

Friesen's co-worker Neate Sager says in the OHL that Kitchener and London will rule the OHL.

But no love for J.T. Miller? Cmon Neate, I may be biased but Miller is poised to have a breakout season. That is if the Rangers don't send him to the AHL.

No comments: